Sometimes you need to find a boyfriend-for-hire in the most unusual of places…
What do you get when you mix a bad boy with a heart of gold and a smart & sassy heroine with a desperate need for a fake relationship?
THE REAL DEAL, a brand new, standalone romantic comedy from #1 New York Times bestseller Lauren Blakely!
Get a copy of your next favorite feel good rom-com now!
THE REAL DEAL Blurb
April Hamilton wants you to know she hasn’t been on GigsForHire since that time she sold her futon after college. She doesn’t even spend that much time online. And even if she did, she would not be looking up personal ads. But going home alone for her family’s summer reunion is an invitation for every single relative to butt into her personal life. She simply can’t handle another blind date with the butcher, the baker or the candlestick maker from her hometown. So when she finds the GigsforHire ad for a boyfriend-for-hire, she’s ready to pay to play.
Heading Home and Need a Buffer? I’m the REAL DEAL.
Theo Banks has been running from the past for years. He’s this close to finally settling all his debts, and one more job as a boyfriend-for-hire will do the trick. He’s no gigolo. Please. He’s something of an actor, and he knows how to slip into any role, including pretending to be April’s new beau — the bad boy with the heart of gold.
Even if it means sleeping in close quarters in that tiny little bed in her parents’ inn. Even if it means spinning tales of a romance that starts to feel all too true. What neither one of them counts on is that amid the egg toss, the arm wrestling, and a fierce game of Lawn Twister that has them tangled up together, they might be feeling the real deal.
She only wanted to show her family once and for all that she had no need to settle down.
He didn’t expect to have the time of his life at her parent’s home.
They didn’t plan on loving every single second of the game.
But can a masterful game of pretend result in true love?
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Romance readers are quite familiar with the ‘pretend boyfriend’ or ‘boyfriend-for-hire’ trope, so the fact that April Hamilton and Theo Banks meet one another through a ‘Gigs for Hire’ personal ad because April wants her overbearing family to stop hounding her about her personal life is a predictable storyline, but Lauren Blakely brings freshness to a commonly used story line by infusing it with comical character interactions, a palpable attraction between the hero and heroine, and a first person perspective that provides April and Theo’s internal musings and diatribes as they start a connection based on a paid transaction and slowly moves to something they never anticipated but perhaps sorely needed.
Theo is definitely more of a mystery than April is, and as the story progresses and Theo’s past is carefully revealed, his hesitancy makes sense…his need to payoff his debt and all that that process entails is understandable, and while April’s reaction to the man Theo used to be is concerning, not showing April exactly who Theo was and is will only make things that are developing between them hit a roadblock that they might not be able to overcome.
April’s family adds so much hilarity and dramatics to April and Theo’s story because due to her relatives meddling, April and Theo find themselves in some rather precarious positions throughout all the family fun that’s had and the close quarters that are forced upon them as they begin to get to know one another and find that their attachment to each other is stronger than they could have ever imagined. Imagine the squirrelest and craziest bunch of relatives that someone could have and that’s April’s crew. But, the fact that they are all up in April and Theo’s lives and pull some crazy antics does provide a bit of comic relief when things get too tense or overwhelming for what’s developing between April and Theo, so this interesting bunch of people help to balance the stress and sexual tension that seems to surround this ‘pretend’/‘real’ couple.
The Real Deal is another fantastic romantic comedy from the hilarious and gifted mind of Lauren Blakely, but there’s also quite a bit of angst mixed in with the entertaining scenes, adding depth to the plot and allowing it to take an unpredictable course, which keeps readers’ interest until the very last page of April and Theo’s book.
4.5 Poison Apples
✦The audiobook is narrated by Zachary Webber and Erin Mallon! ✦
✦ Audio ➜ http://blkly.pub/RealDeal-Aud
When I clock out and head for the park, anticipation runs through my veins like a good buzz on a night out. A reunion booking could be my way out of trouble. A five-day gig might bring me very close to the finish line.
Along the way, I stop in front of a dry cleaner, check my reflection in the plate-glass shop window, and reckon that I look the part April wants: dark jeans, motorcycle boots, and well-worn T-shirt that shows off the ink on my arms. Tribal bands, a sunburst, and a compass. I haven’t shaved in two days, and my stubble is rough. If she wanted clean-cut and business attire, I’d have covered up the tats with a crisp white shirt and a fine silk tie, then slid a blade across my jaw in the a.m. If she wanted sophisticated, I’d have given her the smooth, James Bond voice to boot. She could have me as a country boy, even, in a pair of steel-toed cowboy boots and with the drawl to match.
But April wants the guy who might have screwed her in the restroom of a bar.
She wants gravel and sandpaper, ink and danger, shades and leather.
The more you give someone what they want, the more you get in return.
When I reach the park, I head to the Terrace Bridge. She’s not here, but I’m early, since I like to get a read on any and every situation. I scan the surrounding area, noting the benches, the nearby tables, the cool placid water gurgling under the bridge. June in New York City can seduce you or it can trick you.
What it has in store today is anyone’s guess. I lean my hip against the stone railing, and I wait. Two minutes later, I spot a threesome walking in my direction. My heart thumps, and I groan quietly.
Why does the universe do this to me?
Blond curls, lips like a bow, a tight trim waist. Even from several yards away, I can tell she wears little makeup—she has that fresh-faced, rosy glow about her, and something innocent yet knowing in her expression. Like Lily James, whom I developed a wicked crush on when I watched her in her latest movie.
April’s not tiny, but she’s not towering either. Maybe five-three, five-four. A delicious dream. Which translates roughly to “just my type.” She wears tight jeans, a long black shirt that clings to her figure, and a huge silver necklace with a heart charm that dangles between her breasts.
As if I wouldn’t already be checking them out without the pendant between them.
I’ve had many clients. Keeping it platonic has never been an issue since I’ve never been attracted to a customer.
Looks like I’ll be getting familiar with how to resist temptation.
“This book was yet another true LB masterpiece, romcom meet fake relationship meet romantic af = perfection!”
~Elsa Gomes, Bookish Aurora~
“I loved every word on every page of this story. I can’t stop thinking about it and smiling like a dork. If you were to say #JustBecause or #DoYouRemember? I might just melt into a puddle on the floor, because I do remember…sigh. I want more Lauren Blakely, I’m addicted. The line forms here…”
~Rosa Sharon, iScream Books Blog~
“The Real Deal was a sweet, sexy, hilarious, and entertaining standalone romantic comedy, and I absolutely loved it!”
~Julia, The Romance Bibliophile~
✮✮✮Reader’s Choice Giveaway!✮✮✮
Everything you need for Date Night except the date:).
Find the perfect date in the Real Deal!
$100 gift card to the restaurant of your choice, $50 gift card to the movie theater of your choice, and $50 gift card to the retailer of your choice. ($200 value)
About Lauren Blakely
A #1 New York Times Bestselling author, and #1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling author, Lauren Blakely is known for her contemporary romance style that’s hot, sweet and sexy. She lives in California with her family and has plotted entire novels while walking her dogs. With fourteen New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than 100 times, and she’s sold more than 2.5 million books. In August she’ll release UNBREAK MY HEART, an emotional second chance romance. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, sign up for her newsletter! laurenblakely.com/newsletter